Synthetic Bilayer Membranes: Molecular Design, Self‐Organization, and Application

Toyoki Kunitake

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

647 Citations (Scopus)


Lipid bilayers are a most central building block of the biological molecular organization. Their two‐dimensional self‐assembly is essential to the generation of biological shapes and sizes on the molecular level. The observation that a totally synthetic amphiphile in water is spontaneously assembled to a bilayer structure suggested that bilayer formation is a general physicochemical phenomenon that is not restricted to particular structures of biolipid molecules. Bilayer formation is now observed for a large variety of synthetic amphiphiles which contain one, two, three, or four alkyl tails. The flexible alkyl tail may be replaced by perfluoroalkyl chains. The supramolecular structures obtained therefrom can be related to the component's molecular structure in many cases. The structural variety and the ease of molecular design make the synthetic bilayer an attractive vehicle for organizing covalently bound functional units and guest molecules. In addition, stable monolayers on water, planar lipid membranes (BLM), and free‐standing cast films are obtainable because of the self‐assembling property of bilayer‐forming compounds. These molecular organizations display common supramolecular features. The use of the cast film as a molecular template provides exciting potential for the production of novel two‐dimensional materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709-726
Number of pages18
JournalAngewandte Chemie International Edition in English
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)


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